Ecuadorian Painter and Artist, Ernesto Gualle

Painter and Artist from Ecuador: Ernesto Gualle

Gualle goes deeper into the forest

By Hernán Rodríguez Castelo

Ecuadorian Academy of Languages and the International Association of Art Critics

Ernesto Gualle (Alangasí, 1960), resident of an Ecuadorian village rich in surviving folklore, tried at some points in his career as a painter to capture scenes from those picturesque ceremonies and almost Faustian dances. He was able to create paintings that relive those festive hours of the populace. But he remained within the limits of figurative art, trying to go beyond the limitations of the drawings of someone without experience of the academy. He conquered many of those limitations and his vision of folklore was precise and alive with color. But in those tireless dance rituals and the many other acts, there was something beyond pure realism: magic, dark substrates, strange syncretisms. And that did not appear in Gualle’s paintings.

Conceived in terms of pure realism, they could not open visual spaces to those hyperreal dimensions.

As a result, the artist began throwing himself into the other world, that which, since the beginning of his career, had moved his painting: the natural world. And in the natural world, he was ever more seduced by the forest, where, in his condition as a naïf artist – or almost naïf – he was fascinated like a child with a toy, a toy rich in unsuspected possibilities of games and fantasies.

As I have noted in a previous text, the seduction of Rousseau weighed in the decision of the artist. The Custom Officer revealed to Western art just how much new, almost exotic and richly visual beauty there was in the lavish display of natural life that is the forest.

In the long account of painting forest scenes, Gualle attempted to offer his spectators special attractions: friendly clearings, rivers, mysterious lakes, exotic birds. But suddenly, he appeared to need none of those things and created works in which everything was consumed in pure forest vegetation: trunks, leaves, vines.

It was, without a doubt, a gesture of new maturity. He had reached the heart of the Ecuadorian forest with all that nature has to offer in visual beauty: chromatics that the artist himself would only have woven together with difficulty – such as leaves in blue and other unusual colors – colorful compositions, filtered lights, humid and swollen with silent life and rhythms. And how much rich and free rhythm, precisely like in each piece of forest!

In that way, Gaulle entered ever further into the forest, and he has returned to his tranquil village life from those incursions with a focused pupil and a sensitivity close to the surface of the skin; with a rich loot of new and fresh beauty. But there is such a visual wealth in the world of the forest that, for as much as he delves and retrieves, there will always be much more waiting for him. The time is ripe for him to be on this road and to have decided to continue foraging further into the forest.

Philanthropist and political leader Alvaro Noboa and the Museum Luis Noboa Naranjo invited the general public to enjoy the masterpieces of painter Ernesto Gualle on July 2010.